Happy New Year to All
Perhaps over the holiday period we may have had time to revitalise ourselves ready to face environmental challenges lying in wait for us in 2006! Locally challenges include the proposed bike path on the foreshore, Mordialloc Structure Plan, the widening of Mordialloc Creek bridge and Council’s controversial policy of managing fore- shore vegetation and open space. Councillors could be encouraged to focus more widely on questions of climate change and how it affects the community.
Congratulations to Judy and Pam who won their VCAT Appeal over a two storey development at the rear of a property which would have over-looked both Judy and Pam’s homes and yards. Kingstons policy states that “two storey developments at the rear of the development should be discouraged.” Government regs don’t allow Councils to use the word “must” in planning policy. Congratulations also to Barry Ross and Brian P. who won the VCAT Appeal objecting to a proposed caravan park in the green wedge. In fact the site was to be occupied by dozens of mobile homes to become de facto cheap housing. Acting on behalf of the Defenders of the South East Green Wedge the lads won their VCAT Appeal. Well done all!
Mordialloc Creek Bridge
Nina and Mara have written letters expressing concern at the impact a widened bridge and highway will have on Attenborough Park. Judy asked at, the MVC for copies of the bridge plans. In response to Mary’s query about plans for the bridge Jonathon Guttman stated that he hadn’t seen the VicRoads plans yet but Council has been pressing to have pedestrian bridges on both sides of the bridge to provide safe access for hundreds of Mordialloc College students attending the school. VicRoads has acquisition overlays on part of Attenborough Park but Jonathan doesn’t think VicRoads will require all of the land under acquisition.
Peter Scullin Reserve Landscape Plan
Plans will be released for public comment at the January Council meeting. Plans will need careful scrutiny to ensure vegetation is not removed without plans for replacement.
Foreshore Reference Group and Kingston Environment Network Group committee management and control still cause concern. The possible “stacking” of the FRG or potential downgrading of the KENG reveal a lack of commitment to established environment groups who can, with years of experience and qualifications, contribute ideas to Council re management of climate change, biodiversity, water quality and open space retention. A climate of fear or resentment appears to prevail amongst some councillors certainly not all.
Native Vegetation Guidelines Framework
MBCL presented a submission to the Panel Hearing outlining the impact of residential development on significant indigenous vegetation in the urban areas of Kingston, e.g. Epsom and Chicquita Park. Minister Thwaites promptly agreed to the “simplification” of the guidelines and simultaneously DSE announced major staff cuts from the environment department .61 positions will be axed from the land steward- ship and biodiversity group limiting still further monitoring and protection of native vegetation.
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Congratulations to Cr Rosemary West and Greg Alabaster both of whom were successful in Council elections. Congrats also to Bill who campaigned strongly and missed out on toppling the opposition by 20 votes after a recount! Many, many thanks to all those who letter-boxed and scrutineered and did so much to assist our green team. Let’s hope the outcome will make a significant difference to Council decisions in the New Year, Congrats also to the Greens – Mara and Shana and others who polled magnificently. Interesting to see the effect at the forthcoming State elections! And Stephen! An exceptional result. Well done!
Planning for our Future Forum
Planning for our Future Forum was organised by Save our Suburbs, VLGA, RMIT and Planning Institute Australia 12 November.. Excellent speakers included Rob Hulls, Ted Baillieu, Paul Mees, Michael Buxton, Dr Miles Lewis, Janet Rice and many more. The feeling was that VCAT needed reform and M2030 also required reviewing. Prescriptive planning policies was preferred by many developers as well as the community making for greater certainty. Greater funding of infrastructure by developers.. M2030 is flawed and leads to “high rise, high density, high anxiety” according to Ted Baillieu. The only way affordable housing can be provided according to developers when asked was to “reduce the quality of the unit and the size of the unit to reduce costs.” Paul Mees claimed that in Vancouver maximum site coverage for one dwelling was 30%. Front yards and side yards are mandatory in stand alone dwellings! High rise development is approved for selected areas only after community consultation. Allin all a terrific Forum – if only the Ministers would listen!
Beaches are said to be clean except after rain when people are warned not to swim near drain or creek outlets for at least 24 hours after heavy rain.
Simplifying Native vegetation Guidelines
Minister Thwaites has succumbed to lobbying by urban developers to “simplify ” the guidelines by removing the urban areas from the requirement for developers to seek a permit to remove remnant or significant vegetation from a development site. EV asks people to write to the Minister and local politicians about this matter. EV believes that environmental policy to prevent inappropriate rural and residential development is under threat. MBCL has sent a submission to the Panel.
Concrete Crushing application to operate in Heatherton has been ‘crushed’ by Minister Hulls! Local residents are delighted. Not so delighted at the VCAT decision to allow a saw mill (actually a timber retail outlet) in the green wedge also in Heatherton. An application for a large caravan park/portable homes also in the green wedge is awaiting a decision. The Government’s decision to extend the Urban Growth Boundary into the green wedge will impact on Native Vegetation Guidelines. A reported application for a concrete crushing facility at Braeside has transmogrified into a cabinet making business much to the relief of the boating business already established nearby in Wyman Place!
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Public Meeting Nov 7th. 7pm at the Peninsula Community Theatre. Mornington Topic: Forests & Free Speech. Planning for our Future Saturday 12 November 10am-5pm at RMIT Melbourne Campus. Organised by Save Our Suburbs, RMIT, VLGA and Planning Institute. of Australia. Phone 9 347 2233 for bookings. Watch for Friends of Kingston “Meet the Candidate” at the Alan McLean Hall, Mordialloc. Your chance to quiz the incoming Council hopefuls.
Guest Speaker – Jason Stewart
Jason Stewart was our Guest Speaker at October meeting. Jason has returned to Victoria after working for some years in NSW. He hopes to spend more time on his organic farm and energy efficient house at Cann River near the Errinundra Plateau. The 11ha Herb Rich Grassy Wetland on the Epsom training track was partially saved thanks to Jason alerting Council officers of its existence. The Urban Land Corporation somewhat reluctantly agreed to retain 4ha as a significant site to be managed by Kingston Council’s NRA team.
It was agreed to postpone proposed meeting with VicRoads Bicycle Route Managers until after the Council elections since no decisions will be made until business resumes with new councillors in 20006. In the meantime the State Government’s Draft proposals for Sustainable Neighbourhoods places great emphasis on alternative forms of trasport which, of course, includes bicycle paths shown in the documentation just where we want them on the verge of roads or back of kerb.
Judy has been discussing with Glen the various reports as to water quality in the creek. The most recent reports are difficult to obtain as are reports dealing with contaminated dredge spoil from around the island in the creek. The extent of toxicity and manner of its disposal are also difficult and costly to obtain. Since it can no longer be pumped onto industrial land above Wells Road Bridge where is it being dumped?
Foreshore Vegetation Management
Fortunately the DSE vetoed the second and third principles which Council wanted to introduce into management of vegetation. These were not planting anything that would grow above two metres from the floor level of dwellings on the foreshore or Beach Road and allowing residents to request pruning of trees that they considered were blocking their views despite the fact that there is no legal entitlement to private views of the Bay. Fortunately EVC Management guidelines does permit the re-establishement of, for example, a Banksia Woodland on the foreshore, but priority will be given initially to planting ground cover on the dunes south of the creek. However there has been more vandalism of Banksias south of the creek recently. (EVC Environmental Vegetation Classes)
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Rare Event! A cancelled meeting due to lack of a quorum! A combination of illnesses, prior engagements and work commitments caused the cancellation.. Never-the-less much has happened in the intervening period. Important decisions will have to be made about the sale of parks, the bike path route and landscaping of the Peter Scullin Reserve. Once again Best Wishes to family members who are unwell.
Kingston Environment Groups Network meeting 6th October, 6.30pm at the Fujitsu Building – a presentation by Mike Hill on the Sustainability Accord. Waterkeepers Australia at the Green Building, 60 Leicester Street, Carlton Friday Nov 4 1.30pm 5pm. Worksop to explain the EPBC Act and how the referral and assessment process works. Union of Australian Women Saturday 22 October at Mordialloc Neighbourhood House, 2pm. Cost $5. Guest Speakers Caroline Hirsh and Ann Corcoran. Port Phillip Conservation Council AGM. 17 October. Guest Speaker – Doug Miller from DSE. A good opportunity for MBCL delegates to ask some pertinent questions about the proposed bike road on Kingston’ foreshore! Kingston Council have rejected a ‘back of kerb’ option according to the Leader. Watch For a forum organised by the Friends of Kingston towards the end of October when issues affecting residential amenity, sustainability, community involvement in effective decision making will be topics for discussion.
Two valuable reports have been released this month. They are The Expanding Urban Frontier: Urban Form in Melbourne’s Growth Corridors by Michael Buxton and Jan Scheurer and Sustainable Cities the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Environment and Heritage. The latter discusses such topics as Water, Building Design and Management, Transport and Urban Sprawl. Urban Sprawl is discussed also in the Buxton Report. However there is no easy answer to most of these issues. Unless the Government takes control of planning as they have done in the billion dollar re-development proposed for Dandenong. This takes planning out of the hands of local government and removes the right of third parties to object.
Environment Victoria’s Annual report commends people committed to speaking out for their local rivers. Should MBCL speak out about Mordialloc Creek?? Waterkeepers, of which MBCL is a member will provide additional support for river advocates according to the report.
Golf course and Resort Accommodation Keysborough
Despite a stern letter from Rob Hulls stating that the State Government is “committed to protection of Melbourne’s green wedges from inappropriate development” it appears that Dandenong Council was testing the water yet again. Mr Hulls concludes his letter “I will closely monitor the progress of the application and will take appropriate action if I believed that State planning is being compromised.”
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Channel Deepening Information Night
Channel Deepening Information Night to enable Port of Melbourne Authority to tell the public about the trial dredging project. Everyone interested should make an attempt to attend and question the proponents. An excellent article in the August 30 edition of the Independent explains the hazardous nature of the main shipping channel at the Heads for all vessels.
Because of the importance of this meeting it would be great to be able to finish the MBCL meeting by 4pm to allow anyone interested to attend the information night at Chelsea Town Hall from 5pm 7pm. This will be a difficult time for workers who may wish to attend. Was this why this odd time was chosen??. Pam and Mary sent submissions to the Supplementary EES.
Environment Victoria invited MBCL to join as a group member of EV. Our Treasurer approved, and also advised that payment is due to Consumer Affairs Victoria.
Mordialloc Creek Rehabilitation
Friends of Mordialloc Creek, Mordialloc College students and Yarrabah students were invited to the launch of Mordialloc Creek Rehabilitation on August 25.The Creek was looking great with sun shining and creek side plantings fluttering in the breeze. It was a pleasure to meet Michael Hobbs from Melbourne Water, one of the invited guests at the launching. Michael is the recipient of the MBCL newsletter each month. Other invited guests included the CEO, John Nevins, Tiny Rijs and the Mayor. Chris Chesterfield, General Manager MW also attended.
Woodlands Wetlands and Drills Land
Woodlands Wetlands and Drills Land was recently inspected by Brian and Nina. We will look forward to observations and impressions of the progress of two very different wetlands.
Mordialloc Creek and Environs
Further to the perplexing information about a brick manufacturing business commencing in Industrial I land at 9 Wyman Place, Braeside, a copy of City of Kingston’s Industrial Stormwater Project clarified the situation in addition to discussing the matter with two relevant Council officers. It seems that while Council it does has the power and authority to require conditions for building works in the zone not require a permit for use if parking provisions and buildings are adequate. The planning scheme definitions used by Kingston apply to all Metropolitan Councils and are defined by the State Government. The difficulty arising in this case is if the building is sold and used differently, then council is not involved in any permit action and cannot set permit conditions. To enable Councils to require industrial businesses to improve stormwater management. recognition of the environmental issue must be made at a State level to enable councils to make a change! City of Kingston is attempting to address this anomaly in State planning regulations. Bill discussed the possibility of obtaining grants to involve schools and industry in an effort to alert the Government to the need to improve water quality in Mordialloc Creek.
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Nina has written a letter of support for Kingston’s NRA Team funding application for Herb-rich Grassland Management at Epsom. Mara, as a result of the bike path debate, has revived Sir Rupert Hamer’s plan to declare Beach Road a Scenic Boulevard. Watch for a Leader article about this proposal. Mara has also written suggesting housing styles for Chicquita Park which would increase the amount of open space available.
Mordialloc Creek Water Quality
Mordialloc Creek Water Quality is threatened by yet another inappropriately sited development in the creek catchment -this time in the Light Industrial Estate in Braeside between Governor Road and the creek at 9 Wyman Place where a concrete crushing and brick manufacturing plant has been approved by COK, EPA and Melbourne Water. While conditions are supposed to apply to prevent waste or waste water moving beyond the boundaries of the development it will be difficult containing noise and dust within the boundaries. This could impact on AGRA’s support for an extension of the Waterways wetland concept extending to the Wells Road Bridge over Mordialloc Creek combining an extension of residential development towards the industrial estate. Factory owners weren’t aware of this industry moving into the estate and are not pleased, because of the noise and dust problems bound to occur.
Bicycle Path on the cliff tops, or on the verge of Beach Road, or on a separate Beach Road lane with Beach Road becoming a Scenic Boulevard as envisaged by Sir Rupert Hamer, were ideas. discussed, with a motion that Mara send the letter to the local papers. Bayside Council is currently consulting with VicRoads in order to complete the section of bike path from Cromer Road to Charman Road to connect with the Kingston Section. Stephen pointed out that Council has ignored the fact that many people like to walk on the sandy cliff top track under the trees. They would lose this attractive pathway if a 4.5 metre concrete bike path was built on the cliff top. Geoff Heard represented KCEC at the Met Transport Forum. Bike paths the topic. Bayside Councillor says Aust. Standards for bike paths can be varied in width.
Foreshore Vegetation Management
Foreshore Vegetation Management was the subject of a meeting by members of MBCL and KCEC. DSE was represented and was introduced to the significant cliff top vegetation which would be lost a. by the cliff top bike path and b. Council’s proposed changes to foreshore management precluding the planting of trees or veg. which won’t grow higher than two metres from the floor level of adjacent buildings. We were privileged to have David Bainbridge present to enlighten the DSE rep. about the indigenous veg. since she was a newcomer to the area. MBCL and KCEC also met with Janice Munt to inform her of Council’s proposed NRA management changes for the foreshore ie. direction from top level not to plant trees or weed without approval from the upper echelons. Hundreds of trees ordered from the Beaumaris Community Nursery had to be cancelled as a result of this draconian directive from a council more interested in winning votes by improving property values for Beach Rd residents by providing water views to which they are not legally entitled. Awaiting the outcome of a meeting between DSE and Council regarding the bike path and foreshore management.
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Congratulations to Councillor Rosemary West, former Age and Leader journalist, who on 27th June was awarded honorary membership by the Australian Journalists Association! Quite a coup for Kingston Council to have a councillor on board with the wealth of skills and experience which Rosemary has!
We trust that David E. is making great progress in his current battle with ill-health.
Bill has prepared several papers dealing with State wide issues which also impact on local councils. Paper No.1 dealt with M2030 policy on housing and the need for improved public transport if M2030 is to succeed as envisaged. At present the Brack’s Government seems to be ‘improving’ public transport with buses. Paper No 2 to the Independent deploring Council’s lack of a substantial environmental policy, and Paper No.3 is a Submission to the Victorian Environment Assessment Council River Red Gum Forests Investigation. We are grateful to Bill for the research and effort in producing detailed documents of this calibre. We need now to persuade Kingston Council that our mature trees are also worthy of preservation rather dispensable items to make way for views or developments.
Mordialloc Creek Water Quality
A copy of Stephen Hains letter was sent to Melbourne Water in the hope that a decision may be taken to monitor water quality as it enters and leaves the wetlands at Waterways. However we have been referred to another MW contact for further discussion. In the mean time the EPA have conducted a survey of toxic sites around Melbourne. Hobson’s Bay has the most contaminated sites with 14 and Kingston comes second with 8. Priority sites are those where pollution presents an unacceptable risk to health and groundwater. Interestingly “owners are forced to pay for a clean up or to stop groundwater pollution.” How will this affect the Alex Fraser concrete crushing activities in a former sand quarry full of contaminated groundwater?? And are these eight contaminated sites in Kingston adding to the poor water quality in Mordialloc Creek?
Keysborough Golf Club
Keysborough Golf Club in the Green Wedge is still bubbling along. This is Watson’s development. Golf course, clubhouse, pro-shop, restaurant, function centre, maintenance building, together with 394 dwellings. Objections have been lodged.
Bike Path Saga Continues
MBCL was represented on a Mordialloc Village community bus tour of the foreshore 18th June. CEO, Strategic Planner and Mayor, and an elderly councillor who claimed he had never seen the Bayside bike path but never-the-less didn’t want a shared path on the verge of Beach Road. Response from other committee members was disappointing. The feeling is that the Mayor etc, don’t want any discussion or debate. The attitude is one of defensiveness and claiming concern for vegetation removal but not wanting any discussion about the council’s policy of foreshore management which will see removal of understorey and ‘pruning’. The proposed meeting with the DSE has not yet eventuated though DSE people have met with Belinda Ainley and possibly others to spin their idea of veg. management. Stephen’s survey finds people wish to retain the sandy walking cliff top path.
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Letters received from Mara re drawing attention to traffic danger in White Street, Mordialloc especially to children attempting to cross the road to access local schools. Semi-trailers exiting the Parkdale Plaza into Melrose Street will increase the traffic hazard.
Letter to be sent to Stephen Hains seeking his assistance in having the wetlands monitored to assess their effectiveness in improving the water quality of Mordialloc Creek since Melbourne Water reports that the water quality in the Creek and Patterson River continues to be rated as Very Poor. Hain’s response will be discussed at June meeting.
Concrete Crushing Facilities Clarinda
As a result of Bill and Mary approaching the Leader articles have appeared in the Moorabbin Dandenong and Mordialloc Chelsea Leaders explaining the possible impact on ground and surface water from the contaminants contained in demolition material leaching from the stormwater ponds and groundwater in the sand quarries. The water in the ponds is to be used to prevent dust causing health problems in the surrounding residential, market gardens and schools abutting the facilities.
Council’s plan to formalise the sandy tracks on the cliff top at Mentone into a 4 metre wide shared bike path is meeting with alarm by walkers interviewed. A similar informal sandy track around the Bayside section of foreshore to Rickett’s Point is an example of the importance of retaining the Mentone cliff top path free of fast moving bicyles. As Bill said trying to mix people on one path with speeding cyclists doesn’t work. With the removal of foreshore vegetation for the 4 metre wide track, combined with Council’s outrageous changes to foreshore ‘management’,- removal of vegetation to provide views for priveleged Beach Road residents, the sandy track will be hotter in summer, more open to winds in winter, and lack the natural walking surface. MBCL’s preferred option for a bike path to serve as a commuter path, on the verge of Beach Road.extends the successful Bayside bike path. Unfortunately Vic Roads doesn’t favour a designated safe bike path on Beach Road.
Council’s Foreshore Management Policy
Letters have been sent to DSE Manager Coasts re the proposal to limit future planting on Kingston’s 13kms of foreshore to 2 metres to allow foreshore residents “their views” despite the fact that there is no legal entitlement to views. Letters have also been sent to politicians. The surveys carried out by the council consultant: have been biased by the selection of interviewees – those living only on the foreshore or Beach Road. Council plans in the next stage to interview builders and developers about foreshore vegetation!!! What next? Real estate agents?? A meeting with, and reference to, a former council employee’s species list, Mordialloc Flora, and the Botanicus 2000, study found 54 significant species on the cliff tops 16 of which are found only in this section of the foreshore. 21 of these species are regionally significant.
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Kyoto and the Environment Organised by Ann Corcoran, Federal Member for Isaacs Monday May 2005, 7.30pm Mentone RSL . Speakers:- Graeme Pearman and Anthony Albanese, Shadow Minister for Environment and Heritage.
Nominations for Kookaburra Awards are invited by Parks Victoria to raise awareness of the extent and importance of parks for healthy people and to recognise those volunteers who are committed to protection, conservation and development of the Victorian Parks system.
And don’t forget the Save the Bay Art Show opening 12 May 6.00pm to 8.00pm until 30 May. Opening hours daily 9am 5.30pm
AETA Australia – East Timor Association are urgently calling for letters to politicians about the Timor Sea Oil and Gas Issue. “Don’t Rob Their Future “Campaign.’
SPA Sustainable Population Australia meeting Saturday 7th May 2pm Henry George House 1/27 Hardware Lane, Melbourne Featuring Fossilgate – the connection between population numbers and oil supply as well as a film of an interview with Jenny Warfe about population growth and the effect on the democratic process and environmental amenity.
Panel Hearing concerning two concrete crushing facilities seeking approval to operate in Clarinda heard residents objections on grounds of the impact of dust and noise on the residential amenity of the area including a school and operating nurseries. MBCL submission raised issues about the impact on groundwater over-usage and possible contamination from the type of demolition material to be crushed e.g. concrete containing asbestos, lead paint and arsenic from timber demolition. Three major drains flowing into Mordialloc Creek flow through Delta and Alex Fraser sites. Settlement, Heatherton and Dunlops drains are already polluted according to the Kingston Industrial Stormwater Project. It was disappointing to hear EPA representatives dismissing the impact of pollution of ground and surface water as being of little significance claiming that water in the area could be classified as “segment B of SEPP(Groundwaters of Victoria) with the following beneficial uses: Potable mineral water supply….and Primary contact recreation!!
Channel Deepening Report
The Channel Deepening Report arrived finally – a massive document containing some astonish- ing revelations about the POMC’s Expert Witnesses less than expert reports. In effect they were told by the Panel to go away and try harder next time. Issues of concern were invited from submitters to be included in a supplementary EES to address the staggering environ- mental problems which exist.
Bicycle Path from Charman Road to Mordialloc Creek
Penny gave a report of the meeting at Council about the path and a lengthy discussion followed. Nina stated that the option of narrowing Beach Road (by replacing the section taken from the foreshore by Vic Roads in ‘988) has not been seriously considered by the consultant or council officers who are fixated- with the cliff top option. It was pointed out that the MBCL option for the verge of Beach Road path has been successfully constructed and used in both Mornington and Bayside. It is pointed out that surveillance is not such an issue if the path is on the verge of Beach Road rather than through the bushes on the cliff top. Object strongly to the suggestion from the BUGS rep to “remove the understorey for greater safety” !!. Jenny W. pointed out that 60% of native birds live in the under-storey and feed a metre from the ground. Jenny also reminded us that lights will be required if the path is on the cliff top whereas Beach Road lighting will suffice if the path is on the verge of the road. Regrettably the cliff top path was approved by Council April 26 – but the battle is far from over.
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Following KRAMMED’s success at VCAT with the decision to refuse a permit for 334-339 Station Street, Chelsea on grounds of density and poor design, Chairman O’Leary refused the proponent’s request to bring the fourth storey of 541 Main Street forward level with the third storey. Well done, Nina and Brian who were given permission to speak at the Hearing! Residents of Melrose Street are still waiting to learn the outcome of the Dan Murphy’s application to exit into their street. VCAT Hearing was in February.
Residential Zone 3
Residential Zone 3 submissions were due 31 March. Res 3 imposes a height limit of 9 metres or three storeys in Incremental Change Areas. If the proposed development has a pitched roof then 2 storeys applies however if there is to be a flat roof then the development may be three storeys – though still within the 9 metre height limit unless the site is on a slope then the development may be 10 metres. Activity centres (500 metres from a transport hub) may have greater heights and Neighbourhood centres (Aspendale, Dingley, etc) may have a height limit of four storeys in their shopping strips.
Concrete Crushing Panel Hearing
Concrete Crushing Panel Hearing is being heard March and April. The main issues for local residents are increased traffic, noise and toxic dust from the demolition material to be crushed in three sand quarries on Kingston and Clayton Roads. MBCL’s concern is leaching from the stormwater pond, water from which will be used to spray stock piles of demolition material containing arsenic, lead and asbestos. Water will flow back into the pond to be – re-sprayed onto the roads, machinery and end product. The pond is not clay lined so that contaminated water could leach into groundwater and major drains flowing into Mordialloc creek. Our submission will be presented April 26.
Foreshore Coordinator, Belinda Ainley attended and outlined her role in Kingston council. organising working groups involved in volunteer work on the foreshore–community education with displays and visits to schools and community groups to explain the importance of indigenous vegetation to stabilise cliffs and dunes. Belinda will coordinate a survey of native water rats in Kingston as an extension of Bayside Counicl’s study in their area. MBCL was invited to work on the survey along the foreshore and creek banks.
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